Children need to know and experience love. They need consistent adults and leaders in their lives who are willing to seek to understand them and meet them where they are. That is what the Texas Baptists’ Childhood Ministry Summit sought to accomplish - to equip ministers in childhood leadership to clearly and meaningfully plan, effectively teach and learn to value how children and preschoolers learn so they might have a genuine relationship with God.
“Trust is the foundation piece for almost every single thing we do in our lives. If trust is not wired in a child by 14 months, it’s much harder to accomplish. It takes many repetitions and incredible focus to help the child reroute and accept trust,” said Dr. Pam Schiller, keynote speaker of the Childhood Summit held at Dallas Baptist University August 11-12.
This was just one of many insights Schiller gave in her keynote presentation, “Godly Values Match Fundamental Skills for Success.”
Schiller is a curriculum specialist as well as a freelance author and speaker. She has worked as a child care administrator, taught in public schools and served as head of the Early Childhood Department at the University of Houston. She is the author of seven early childhood curricula, 34 children’s books and more than 30 parent resource books.
During her presentation, Schiller carefully walked through the wiring of the human brain, key ages of brain development in children and how a knowledge of the two can be used in effectively sharing the Gospel with children of all ages.
Schiller discussed prime windows of opportunity for emotional intelligence, social development and thinking skills to be produced in children, commenting that all three are wired from 0-48 months and have their greatest enhancement in children starting at age 4. She greatly stressed the importance of not allowing these opportunities to go to waste.
“There’s nothing more powerful than to find what children are interested in and use that to motivate their curiosity,” she said.
Along with brain development, Schiller also presented five strategies for developing life skills and offered practical ways to help increase confidence, intentionality, self-control, compassion and a number of other biblical qualities in children. She closed with a simple yet foundational phrase to all children’s ministers: “Remember the joy!”
“The Childhood Ministry Summit is a great time to learn from Ministers of Childhood Education, teachers and weekday directors. This is our methodology conference,” said Diane Lane, childhood discipleship specialist. “Sessions are taught on how preschoolers learn from the blocks, how children learn through games and how screens reroute our brains. This information is important to know so we can maximize teaching time with preschoolers and children.”
The Childhood Summit also held an intruder awareness session, presented by Lupe Salazar. Salazar encouraged awareness of intruder safety and challenged each church present to have safety procedures in place through training church leadership, having a security team and preparing for all possible intruder situations.
Over the two-day period, 56 breakout sessions were taught by 23 experienced leaders in childhood ministry. A few of these workshops included, The social media disconnect: It’s changing our lives!; Using drums, cymbals, and shakers to learn about God; Books, puzzles, and pictures; Terrific transitions; and The why and how of weekday ministry.
This year, 60 churches were represented at the Childhood Summit, with 330 ministers and ministry leaders in attendance.
To learn more about Texas Baptists’ Childhood Discipleship and the resources offered to your church, visit https://texasbaptists.org/childhood